Welcome to My Quinzhee Camping page -
HOW TO BUILD ONE.
AND Our annual Algonquin Park (PICS), Ontario
get-a-way! This is Winter Camping at its best!
Click ANY picture for large image!
This page is hosted inside my Mustang Cobra web site, hence
the reason for all the Mustang links on both sides :)
Our 2007 trip was a HUGE
success. I have created the picture ALBUM
Here is a video file of the
lighting of our Saturday night fire -
The Quinzhee from 2007 will
be up till early April on site #6.
2006 trip page is
HERE - SO much snow we
built a 2-room Quinzhee with a dining room.
Read the rest of the page to
learn HOW-TO build a Quinzhee - Snow fort.
Can you tell I am Canadian?? haha .... Only
Canadians would enjoy going up North for 3 days and live in this thing called a
Quinzhee. I've seen it spelled Quincy, and Quinzy as well.
We camp each year in a Provincial Park in Ontario
called Algonquin Park. Their facilities are open in the winter at MEW
Lake, so that is where we go. Algonquin is beautiful in the winter.
Most years we have gone up in January, but February has more snow so I think we
will do February from now on. Global warming is killing the snow in
My first year up to the park in January was in
1985, so for over 20 years I have been doing this. Well, I
haven't been making Quinzhee's quite that long, but I have been doing the winter
camping thing for over 20 years. My friend Wayne Smith introduced to this
concept that long ago, and although he doesn't come up any more, I have never
missed a year since. One year I saw this mound of snow in the camp ground
and wondered what it was. It was indeed a QUINZHEE. That's when I
put my engineering hat on (no, I am not an engineer) and have had a blast with
this ever since. My 2 other main side-kicks Eric and Bernie have been
doing this with me since almost the beginning. Timbo (we call him the
"Slacker") is next in number of years. Last year (2005) we initiated Fabio, and
in 2007 we initiated "Snow Angel".
from left to right (Me, Snowy,Timbo,Bernie,Eric,Fabio) - click for full size
Building the QUINZHEE is a step by step process.
To be SAFE, you have to do it properly. The bigger the QUINZHEE the safer
it needs to be.
In Point form here are the steps
Establish your perimeter.
Shovel enough snow that it is big enough for what you need.
Let it sit (I suggest overnight - but if it is FLUFFY
- 2 days).
● Dig it out.
● Create vents
● Heat it up.
● Cool it down
● move in.
OK ... lets see if I
can supply some pictures along the way. Step 1 is "Establish your
perimeter". I usually just walk around in a big circle. Keep in mind
that me and the guys are insane when it comes to building these things. We
always try to outdo ourselves each year, making it bigger and bigger.
Needless to say it has become enormous over the years.
Here you can see the
original shape and just a little bit of clearing. You will also notice
that last year there was not all that much snow, so we had to clear a HUGE area
to get the size we wanted. Other years there has been 3 feet deep of snow
OK, step 2 - dig up as big as you
require. Well, since we have 5-6 guys that come, we need it pretty big
inside. I would say generally the inside dimensions are 12' X 14'.
Here is a shot of the finished
We ALWAYS let the mound sit OVER
Then we start digging it out >>>>
After a bit of work you will be
able to get right inside and continue digging - here is Bernie working on the
inside. Once inside you need to dig UP as well as out. But to make
sure you do not shovel THROUGH the ceiling, you need to fill in the door with
snow from the inside. Just tell the guys outside NOT to clear away the
snow for a bit - this way the inside will be dark. Don't worry, you will
still be able to see OK. When you start to see lightened spots in the
ceiling and sides, stop digging there. It's still about 1 foot thick at
I also suggest bringing 2-way
radios so it's easier to communicate to the guys outside telling them to dig you
out. The outside guys should pile the snow on the sides, building out a
wind-proof entrance. >>>> Those big arms coming out is the snow that was inside
Here are 2 shots of the inside
Next, Make your Vents (air)
holes. I usually put in 3. >>>
Next, Heat it up - I use Lanterns
since they throw off a lot of heat>>
NOW ..... We bring along a WOODEN
DOOR. Of course you do NOT have to do this, but Bernie is a cabinet maker,
so, creating a door took him about 30 seconds. I works fantastic. You can
use a piece of plastic or whatever - try to seal it up good. Here is
Bernie with door>>>
The door completely installed
Let the lanterns heat up the
Quinzhee for 2-3 hours. Then turn them off and open up the door. The
heating up creates moisture and then the cold freezes it up again. We do
this because our intentions every year is to make the Largest and Strongest
Quinzhee in Algonquin Park. The Park Warden leaves our Quinzhee up into
late April before they smash it in with the front end loader. Dozens of
families use our Quinzhee for the remainder of the season. Make us proud.
We usually just use a big
groundsheet inside to keep us off the snow. We all have "Thermorests" or
other padding. You definitely want to keep off the floor because the floor
will become solid ice very quickly. One year we had a bail of hay, which
worked out great.
Perhaps if you are lucky, you
will meet some new friends. Meet Ginger>
Ginger liked the Quinzhee too
Friends (Mike and Steve) we have met over the
past couple years come up with a COOL heated tent with a wood stove inside.
Here are a couple of pics >>> remember - click for larger view
So what do we do when we have
time to spare .... we go hiking, The park is beautiful in the winter ...
especially after a fresh snowfall.
Thanks for visiting ..... If you
have ANY questions go to "contact" and I'll be happy to answer your questions.